Saturday, January 26, 2013

DocPoint Vanishing Point: Rose Lowder

DocPoint Vanishing Point, Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 26 Jan 2013.
Curators: Mika Taanila, Sami van Ingen. In the presence of Rose Lowder.

Mika Taanila: "Born in 1941, the French filmmaker Rose Lowder travelled the world from an early age after her parents’ work. Later on her studies took her between Lima, London and Paris."

"Educated as a painter and a sculptor, she moved on to filmmaking in 1976 with encouragement from Jean Rouch. She had gathered experience in filmmaking in the 1960’s, when she worked as an assistant editor for the BBC to pay for her studies."

"Lowder’s works have a markedly handcrafted feel to them and her films are loaded with sensitivity. She is considered to be one of the most innovative characters in structural film. She calls her technique, in which she shoots films frame by frame, as “knitting inside a camera”."

"The films in her Bouquets series make up the core of her oeuvre. They are impressionistic 60 second documentaries about places she has particular interest in. These include shots from organic farms and macrobiotic centers in France, Switzerland and Italy."

"Voiliers et coquelicots provides powerful romanticism from Marseille in the form of boats and poppies. In Les Tournesols we see sunflowers wobbling with every frame having a slightly different focus point in a static landscape."

"Jardin du soleil and Sous le soleil reflect in the blinking of solar panels. Jardins du Marais is a tremoring momental lapse from the Loire-Atlantique natural park while  Rien d’ extraordinaire takes us to the garden of a Swiss hotel."

"Habitat is simply a film about frogs and Jardin du sel depicts the manufacturing of sea salt. The final episode Sources has an organic farmer’s vegetable paté in the starring role." (Mika Taanila | translation by Juha Nurminen)

Les Tournesols, 1982, 3 min, silent - "En faisant reposer l'image sur des éléments extraits de la réalité filmée, inscrits successivement sur la bande, il est possible d'obtenir une fluidité d'agencement des constituants visuels de l'image. Tout en gardant l'avantage de la mobilité des éléments graphiques, Les Tournesols tente de faire gagner une certaine stabilité à l'ensemble de la représentation spatio-temporelle. Dans ce film, la mise au point est successivement réglée image par image, selon une série de partitions sur des plantes spécifiques situées à différents endroits de plusieurs champs de tournesols contigus. Les petites unités de photogrammes, enregistrées les unes après les autres, apparaissent, simultanément sur l'écran, lors de leur projection, sous forme de diverses configurations induisant des mouvements insolites. La relative stabilité de l'image amena aux recherches qui conduirent à la série des Scènes de la vie française. Les Tournesols et Les Tournesols colorés peuvent être également projetés ensemble, côte à côte en double projection." (Rose Lowder) - The French word says it all: sunflowers turn with the sun. They seem to tremble and dance in time-lapse photography.

Bouquet 1, 1995, 1 min, silent - "Filmed on the Mount Ventoux, Vaucluse, from the peak (1912 m) to the Grozeau spring. Amongst yellow poppies and various mountain flowers, people eat their lunch, scramble or cycle up the slopes leading to the summit where they are greeted by the sale of local products: organic épautre, the local ancient form of wheat, and coloured candies." (Rose Lowder) - Flash edit, superimposition, a richness of images, a richness of colours. The letters of the words identifying the movie appear one by one.

Bouquet 2, 1994, 1 min, silent - "Filmed near the village of Brantes, amongst other things, a school cycling party passing through fields of flowers on the borders of Vauculse and Drome". (Rose Lowder) - A bombardment of shots of gentle pastoral views, the flowers of the meadows, poppies, with a moment of calm, and then flashing on again.

Voiliers et coquelicots, 2001, 2 min, silent - "Little is necessary for everything to appear differently. The date, the hour, the weather, the space's layout, one's glance or presence of mind... can make everything change. The boats sail out of the Vieux port in Marseille to be amongst the poppy fields." (Rose Lowder) - Flash edit and superimpositions of sailboats and poppies, accelerating into flicker, colour changes, thistle.

Bouquets 21–30, 2001–05, 14 min, silent - "Bouquets 21-30 (2001-2005) is a part of the ecological Bouquets series, consisting of one-minute films composed in the camera by weaving the characteristics of different environments with the activities there at the time. The filming basically entails using the film strip as a canvas with the freedom to film frames on any part of the strip in any order, running the film through the camera as many times as needed."
    "Thus each bouquet of flowers is also a unique bouquet of film frames."
    "Bouquet 21 (2001) was filmed in a tiny paradise which took years to create, La Baraque, an organic farm situated 2 kms from Aujac, in the far corner of Gard, sandwiched between Lozère and Ardèche."
    "Bouquet 22 (2001) meanders over the mountain pastures near the summit of the Grand Perron des Encombres, not far from a macrobiotic centre at Bettaix, in the Belleville Valley, Savoie."
    "Bouquet 23 (2001) shows Terre Vivante, a centre focusing on ecological issues, located on a site of fine cultivated, or wild, flower and vegetable gardens strewn over a hillside amongst ponds. Open to the public, it organizes numerous events and publishes excellent books and a magazine."
    "Bouquet 24 (2001) was filmed in a pastoral setting around Beausite, an inn which provides organic meals in its preserved 1912 ambience, in Chemin-dessus, on a mountain slope 7 kms from Martigny, Switzerland."
    "Bouquet 25 (2002) was shot in Cantal, around Le Tahoul, the Falgoux Valley and the Aulac Pass. This reel mingles the few flowers uneaten by the Salers cows with the village residents going about their affairs."
    "Bouquet 26 (2003) was filmed in the middle of the animals of a small farm, La Terra di Mezzo, perched on hillside terraces of Liguria, Italy."
    "Bouquet 27 (2003) moves around a macrobiotic centre in St. Gaudens, Haute-Garonne. Amongst glimpses of the surrounding countryside leading to the village of St. Béat, it shows its residents working on the land, repairing items or making rice biscuits."
    "Bouquet 28 (2005) takes place on a farm, Mas de Cocagne, Aujac, Gard, which has developed from an abandoned coal-mining area into an agricultural-ecological site over twenty-five years. The topics include abundant floral vegetation, the Château d'Aujac on the hillside in the distance, work on the farm, builders erecting a roof, washing being hung up and to end a contented frog amongst the pink water lilies."
    "Bouquet 29 (2005) shows a very isolated 18th c farmhouse, Fra Boyer, on the borders of the Forêt Domaniale de l'Oule, near Montmorin, Hautes-Alpes. The floral vegetation attracts numerous butterflies and other flying insects, the family grow vegetables and collect the cherries while two donkeys help themselves."
    "Bouquet 30 (2005) treats the farm of Le Lanteïrou, Champagne, near Les Vastes, Haute-Loire. One sees the cows, the farmer by the house, a member of the family in the bed he has built, complete with bedside lamp, under a nearby tree, and an elderly neighbour walking between the two white chairs set up at either end of her field amongst the vegetable patches." (Rose Lowder)

Habitat, 2006, 8 min 30 s, silent - "In this film we move away from the notion of a work preconceived to adjust the visual characteristiques of the image in order to allow us to enter the temporal dimension of a pond full of frogs. In front of such creatures that tend to be elusive there arises a question of more general interest as tohow can one record moments that are meanful, how can one render visible,present a moment that is alive and connect the items forming the different recorded moments up together?" (Rose Lowder)

Bouquets 11–20, 2005–09, 14 min, silent - "Bouquets 11-20, filmed in Italy, Switzerland and France, was delayed by the weather and a series of related technical/aesthetics incidents. The ten little films (1 minute or 1440 frames each, with the exception of 23 frames or nearly a second more for n°16), continues the work begun with the series Bouquets 1-10 and 21-30. This consists of weaving in camera visual aspects of the filmed reality in order to bring into existence specific features of the cinematographic image, hopefully placing us on a boundary outside the traditional rôles of description or abstraction."
    "Content-wise the graphic-aesthetic procès is related to social/economical politics and philosophy. Nearly every civilization disappeared due to mayor environmental issues and we are, in heading in that direction, repeating history. R.L."
    10 Bouquets, each one minute long, all filmed at ecological sites.
Bouquet 11 - Oasis de la Roche Bleue, near Plaisans, Drôme
Bouquet 12 - Farm de la Mhotte, Saint Menoux, Allier
Bouquet 13 - Site agroécologique de la Baraque, Aujac, Gard
Bouquet 14 - Le Vieil Eclis, Asserac, Loire-Atlantique
Bouquet 15 - Azienda Agricola Cascina Piola, Serra-Capriglio, Asti,
Nord Monferrato, Piedmonte, Italy
Bouquet 16 - Silvai Confiture (jam), Haute Bléone, Prads, Basses-Alpes
Bouquet 17 - Hôtel –Pension Beau-Site (Label écologique européen), Chemin sur Martigny, Switzerland
Bouquet 18 - Farm de Crozefond, Saint Aubin, Lot et Garonne
Bouquet 19 - Les Jardins du Marais, Parc Naturel Régional de Brière, Hoscas, Loire Atlantique
Bouquet 20 - Site agroécologique de la Baraque, Aujac, Gard." (Rose Lowder)

Jardin du soleil, 2010, 2 min, silent - "Beginning with natural light, an element that played a major role in cinematographic developement, the subject of the film evolves around solar panels in two different places, Cascina Piola, Capriglio, Asti, in Italy, and Le Vieil Eclis, Asserac, in Loire-Atlantique, France. We find ourselves in the middle of sparkling light, exposed to the wind, like the butterflies, the bees and the little clouds." (Rose Lowder)

Jardins du Marais, 2010, 2 min 30 s, silent - "This magnificent garden, in the Parc naturel régional de Brière, in the middle of the presqu’île de Guérande, Loire-Atlantique, in France, covers over a hectare of land. It’s vegetable garden, ornamental garden, small forest and two ponds, make up a continuously evolving space, but also a visual mumble - jumble of wild life that draws one to delve into it in order to explore it cinematographically. In honor of Annick Bertrand-Gillen et Yves Gillen, the creators of this munificent space in the middle of nature." (Rose Lowder)

Rien d’extraordinaire, 2010, 2 min, sound - "Just a glimpse of this beautiful spot around the Hôtel - Pension Beau-Site on the Chemin sur Martigny, Switzerland, situated in a hamlet surrounded by snow-capped mountains." (Rose Lowder) - with the Chilean dancer Pauliva Alemparte

Jardin du sel, 2011, 16 min 11 s, sound - "The production of sea salt flower is a process of concentration-saturation of sea water in order to form crystallization. The agriculture character of the activity is evoked by the term "salt garden". Six poetic pictures, five based on the sun, the wind and the sea, while the last rests on a small park left fallow. Music by François Alexis Degrenier." (Rose Lowder) - The film is like abstract expressionism, accompanied by musique concrète. - The salt crystals are viewed almost as abstractions.

Sous le soleil, 2011, 3 min 28 s, sound - "In the heat of summer solar panel reflections blend with butterflies on flowers and a little bird eating the mulberries." (Rose Lowder)

Sources, 2012, 5 min 22 s, sound - "Sources originated from Thomas the Gardener’s wish to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his making vegetable pâté. Leaving urban life behind him in order to renew a relationship with the land, Thomas started up an organic garden in the beautiful area of hot and cold Springs, lakes and rivers, in the upper Aude Valley." "In the middle of making his pâté, the gardener is surrounded, as the water sources of the Aude river rush by, by one of the sources for his recipies, the flowers and spices from his garden." (Rose Lowder) - The gleaming water.

All from France, 16 mm, from Light Cone, total duration 75 min

Splendid colour, a strong feeling for nature and the presence of the sun. The senses are reawakened by the structural changes of time lapse, fast edit, and superimposition. While the music by François Alexis Degrenier is fine in the four last films of the show, the silent ones are even more intensive; maybe the music distracts slightly from the visual intensity. Most of the movies are ultra rapid, even with flicker, but there are moments of almost still life, like Habitat, about the frogs in the pond.

Fine 16 mm prints with fine colour.

No comments: